Ahead of the Bell: Audience shares plunge

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Shares of Audience Inc. plunged nearly 60 percent before Friday’s opening bell because the maker of audio chips says it’s unlikely that Apple Inc. will use its technology in its new version of the popular iPhone.

Audience sells processors and licenses intellectual property to Apple for use in the iPhone. Under its deal with Apple, Audience developed and licensed a new technology for use in the Apple devices, but Apple wasn’t required to use it.

Audience said late Thursday that while it’s unlikely that Apple will use its technology in the new version of the iPhone expected to be released this fall, the iPhone 5, it still expects the technology to continue to be used in older versions of the phone.

Audience shares dropped $11.06, or 59 percent, to $7.80 in premarket trading. The Mountain View, Calif., company went public in May at $17 per share. The stock’s low point had been $15.15, struck in early August.

“While we are disappointed by this development, we are confident in the diversification of our business and see sustainable growth in 2012 and beyond,” said CEO Peter Santos. He named TVs, autos and notebook PCs as potential growth areas.

Because Audience recognizes royalty revenue one quarter after phones are sold, the company said it doesn’t expect Apple’s decision to affect its results in the current quarter, which ends in September. But Audience said it will start to feel the effects of the decision one quarter after the new iPhone goes on sale. It didn’t provide a forecast for that period.

For the fiscal third quarter ending in September, Audience expects revenue of $35 million to $38 million, up from its previous prediction of $33 million to $36 million. Analysts, on average expected$35.3 million in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.

Excluding one-time items, the company said it expects to post an adjusted profit of 14 cents to 18 cents per share for the period, while analysts expected 12 cents per share.